During the years 1980 to 1989, females accounted for 6% of all occupational injury deaths listed in the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities surveillance system. The average annual fatality rate for the decade was 0.82/100,000 female workers, a value which decreased by 31% over the period analyzed, from 1.08/100,000 female workers in 1980 to 0.74/100,000 female workers in 1989. Women aged 25 to 29 accounted for the most deaths, while the 65 and older age group had the highest average annual fatality rate, 2.5/100,000 female workers. Homicides were the leading cause of death, 40% of the total, followed by motor vehicle accidents, 15% of the total. The occupations with the highest average annual rates per 100,000 female workers were airplane pilots and navigators, 93.33, heavy truck drivers, 30.71, construction laborers, 23.97, and police and detectives, 11.24. Although the number of females in these occupations was small, the risks were nonetheless high. Occupations with the largest number of fatalities were managers, with 199 deaths, 63% of which were homicides; sales supervisors and proprietors, with 151 deaths, 73% of which were homicides; and sales workers, with 124 deaths, 74% of which were homicides. The four highest risk industries for females, construction, transportation/communication/public utilities, mining, and agricultural/forestry/fishing, were also the four highest risk industries for males and females combined, despite the fact that these industries employed a small proportion of women. The author recommends that further research be conducted to learn about the decline of the fatality rate over the decade, the high average annual fatality rate among older women, and the factors surrounding the large proportion of homicides.
E. Lynn Jenkins, MA, NIOSH, Division of Safety Research, 944 Chestnut Ridge Road, Morgantown, WV 26505-2888